Review Summary: Short, sharp and shiny, a neat debut.
Originally released under the moniker of Smackin' Isaiah, this blur of activity shows hints at the sound that A Wilhelm Scream would develop further down the line in their career. With the tinny guitar tones, and rough recording, this album might not contain quite as much kick as later records such as Career Suicide
or Mute Print
but the technicality is still present with the near frantic sound of songs such as The Big Fall or Better Health Through Screaming In Tune.
The sound is still unmistakeably A Wilhelm Scream, but as mentioned not all there. The harmonies aren't quite as prominent and there are little to no solos, although there are still some neat leads placed around songs such as the intro to Catharsis for Dummies. The energy is ever present, as track after track roars past. The only unfortunate thing is that most of the songs sound same-y, be it because the production is lower quality or the fact that a lot of the songs include similar techniques. Some of the vocals also sound a little too similar, but for the most Nuno Pereira has a very definite voice that stands out quite clearly from the rest of the mix.
This record isn’t quite as angry as that found on Career Suicide, nor is it as catchy as some of the songs found on Ruiner
. This is where the main criticism of this album is found, not in the fact that it is technically bad or that the music is boring, but the fact that it has no gleaming examples of an individual sound, or defining features that make it stand out from many bands that were commonplace at the time. Do not take this as the album being worse or low quality, because it most certainly isn’t.
The main difficulty in reviewing this album is how it compares to the rest of the A Wilhelm Scream discography. It is easily the weaker of their releases, but would be a perfectly acceptable release for any band from that year or era. The frantic pace creates a skate-punk feel that leaves you wanting more, yet at the same time has nothing that gives you an urge to replay the record, or listen to each individual track in detail.
If this album was released separately from A Wilhelm Scream (Which it originally was), it would probably be a 3.5/5 record, whilst the record in comparison to the rest of their discography is quite on the weak side of things, just not having the characteristics that other records would later demonstrate.